TUCSON, Ariz. – University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins, MD, has appointed the 17th Surgeon General of the United States Richard Carmona, MD, MPH, to lead the university's campus Reentry Task Force. As director of the task force, Dr. Carmona will head the development and execution of a return-to-campus plan for fall 2020.
In addition to being widely known as the 17th surgeon general of the United States, Dr. Carmona currently serves as a distinguished professor of public health at the UArizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. He also holds dual roles as a professor of surgery at the College of Medicine – Tucson and a professor at the College of Pharmacy, with more than 35 years on the faculty at the University of Arizona. He is a physician, Vietnam veteran, and a former paramedic, nurse, deputy sheriff and public health administrator.
Dr. Carmona will report directly to Dr. Robbins, who is a cardiothoracic surgeon, has worked for the National Institutes of Health, is the founding director of the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute and is the former head of the Texas Medical Center, the world’s largest medical complex. The campus Reentry Task Force will integrate and be informed by the ongoing reentry activities led by Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Liesl Folks, PhD, Senior Vice President for Research and Innovation Betsy Cantwell and Senior Vice President for Health Sciences Michael Dake, MD.
“Dr. Carmona has an incredible wealth of experience that includes serving as the chief public health officer in the country, and he will take immediate charge of leading this campus community through our reentry process,” Robbins said. “Dr. Carmona has been entrenched in our campus for decades and we are fortunate to have his expertise in our mix. He has unique experience and is fully invested in bringing our Wildcat family back.”
Dr. Robbins announced in April his plans to resume in-person classes Aug. 24, bringing back 45,000 students and 15,000 faculty and staff for fall 2020. The plan hinges on a three-part Test, Trace and Treat approach that will guide the task force’s work, which is already under way.
“As a longtime UA faculty member, it is my privilege to assist President Robbins by leading the UA recovery efforts,” Dr. Carmona said.
Dr. Carmona was nominated in 2002 by the president, confirmed unanimously by the U. S. Senate and served as the 17th surgeon general of the United States until his four-year term expired in July 2006.
Born and raised in New York City, he dropped out of high school and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1967. While enlisted, he received his Army General Equivalency Diploma and joined the Army's Special Forces, ultimately becoming a combat-decorated Vietnam veteran, and began his career in medicine as a Special Forces medic.
After leaving active duty, Dr. Carmona attended Bronx Community College of the City University of New York, where he earned his associate’s degree. He later attended and graduated from the University of California, San Francisco, with a bachelor’s degree in 1977 and a medical degree in 1979. At the UCSF Medical School, he was awarded the prestigious gold-headed cane as the top graduate. He has also earned a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Arizona in 1998.
Dr. Carmona completed his surgical residency at the University of California, San Francisco, and a National Institutes of Health-sponsored fellowship in trauma, burns and critical care. He is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and also is certified in correctional health care, quality assurance and addiction medicine.
A version of this story appeared originally on the UANews website.
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About the University of Arizona Health Sciences
The University of Arizona Health Sciences is the statewide leader in biomedical research and health professions training. UArizona Health Sciences includes the Colleges of Medicine (Tucson and Phoenix), Nursing, Pharmacy, and the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, with main campus locations in Tucson and the Phoenix Biomedical Campus in downtown Phoenix. From these vantage points, Health Sciences reaches across the state of Arizona, the greater Southwest and around the world to provide next-generation education, research and outreach. A major economic engine, Health Sciences employs nearly 5,000 people, has approximately 4,000 students and 900 faculty members, and garners $200 million in research grants and contracts annually. For more information: uahs.arizona.edu (Follow us: Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | LinkedIn | Instagram).
About the University of Arizona
The University of Arizona, a land-grant university with two independently accredited medical schools, is one of the nation's top public universities, according to U.S. News & World Report. Established in 1885, the university is widely recognized as a student-centric university and has been designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education. The university ranked in the top 20 in 2018 in research expenditures among all public universities, according to the National Science Foundation, and is a leading Research 1 institution with $687 million in annual research expenditures. The university advances the frontiers of interdisciplinary scholarship and entrepreneurial partnerships as a member of the Association of American Universities, the 65 leading public and private research universities in the U.S. It benefits the state with an estimated economic impact of $4.1 billion annually. For more information: arizona.edu (Follow us: Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | LinkedIn | Instagram).